Ipswich Town vs Watford: Preview and Prediction

Ipswich Town will hope to make up for dropping points at the weekend when Watford come calling on Wednesday night.

Kieran McKenna’s hopes of back-to-back promotions took a hit last weekend when Ipswich Town fell to Norwich City at Carrow Road. This saw the Tractor Boys surrender top spot to Leicester City while being only marginally ahead of Leeds United in the EFL Championship standings.

The Tractor Boys’ incredible rise and potential return to the Premier League is very much still on. However, with just a handful of games left, they have no margin for error. Finishing in the top two will guarantee them automatic promotion. But having to settle for the playoff lottery could undo much of the good work this season.

Ipswich Town now welcome a Watford side that held Leeds United to a 2-2 draw earlier last month. They could now hand yet another title challenger a reality check should they be anywhere far from their best.

The Tractor Boys find themselves in a commendable second position in the Championship standings, while Watford currently reside in 14th place, riding a four-match unbeaten streak. Ipswich’s strong performances warrant minimal criticism, having won nine out of their last 11 matches and holding their fate firmly in their own hands.

However, their recent loss at Carrow Road marked the first time in the EFL Championship since New Year’s Day that they failed to find the back of the net, prompting manager Kieran McKenna to assess areas for improvement.

Despite having no fixtures against the current top six remaining on their schedule, Ipswich face some challenging matchups ahead, beginning with their encounter against Watford on Wednesday. In contrast, Watford’s recent form has been below expectations, with just two wins in their last 14 Championship outings.

However, caretaker boss Tom Cleverley has instilled a sense of optimism, evident in their recent draws against Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, and Preston North End. The Hornets go into the clash as underdogs. But unless Ipswich turn up the heat, they could see yet another opportunity disappear from their grasp. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics

Ipswich Town

Kieran McKenna has injury concerns of his own and will be without the services of Brandon Williams, Janoi Donacien, George Hirst, and Wes Burns for the game Kieffer Moore is not entirely fit and is also struggling for form.

He could start on the bench for the game as the Tractor Boys aim to make a fast start. The home side are also likely to retain their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Vaclav Hladky in goal. He should be protected by the backline of Harry Clarke, Luke Woolfenden, Cameron Burgess, and Leif Davis.

Sam Morsy and Massimo Luongo should form the double pivot, with Omari Hutchinson and Jeremy Sarmiento providing the width. The impressive Conor Chaplin should don the number 10 role, while Ali Al-Hamadi is expected to lead the line.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Clarke, Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis; Morsy, Luongo; Hutchinson, Chaplin, Sarmiento; Al Hamadi

Ipswich Town vs Watford: Preview and Prediction.


Tom Cleverley is unlikely to want to tinker with the Watford lineup given their recent upturn in form. The former Manchester United man has enjoyed a fine start to management and will hope to put points on the board and avoid getting caught up in the relegation dogfight.

The Hornets are expected to line up in a 3-4-1-2 system. Daniel Bachmann should start in goal behind the back three of Ryan Porteous, Francisco Sierralta, and Wesley Hoedt providing protection at the back.

Ryan Andrews and Jamal Lewis should provide width, while Edo Kayembe and Tom Dele-Bashiru hold the fort in the middle of the park. This should give Ismael Kone the freedom to push up from the attacking midfield role. Emmanuel Dennis and Mileta Rajovic should lead the line upfront.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Bachmann; Porteous, Sierralta, Hoedt; Andrews, Kayembe, Dele-Bashiru, Lewis; Kone; Rajovic, Dennis

Ipswich Town vs Watford: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • A win on the night will see Ipswich Town win four games on the trot against Watford. They previously won just one in 18 clashes against the Hornets.
  • Watford have won just one of their last ten trips to Portman Road.
  • Ipswich Town are currently on an 18-game unbeaten streak at home in the league. This is their longest such run since 2008.
  • Watford are unbeaten in their last five away games against newly promoted sides.
  • Watford have lost the fewest games away from home in the Championship since the beginning of December 2023.

Player to Watch

Leif Davis

Embed from Getty Images

The 24-year-old wing-back arrived from Leeds United in 2022 and has since been an invaluable addition to the Ipswich Town squad. With 16 assists, Davis is joint top in terms of assists created in the Championship alongside Leeds United star Georginio Rutter this season.

Davis is in good form, especially at Portman Road. The Ipswich Town star has three assists and two goals to his name in the last five games at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys lacked penetration against Norwich City and will hope for a better showing on the night. As long as Davis turns up, there is a chance that McKenna and Co. can rediscover their attacking mojo.


Ipswich Town 2-2 Watford

Ipswich Town will hope for a quick start and will eye an early goal to settle nerves. However, Watford are proving themselves to be dogged opponents who know when to hit back where it hurts. The clash is likely to have goals in it and the Hard Tackle believes both sides will have to settle for a share of the spoils.

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